What is a Dowry?
A dowry deals with marriage. A dowry helps build power and wealth into a family. If the bride wants to marry the external image dowry_large.GIFgroom, she would have to give her groom money or valuables (such as property) to actually permit the marriage. These valuables can range from a small sum to whatever they want to give. Possible items that a dowry may consist of include houses, cash payments, jewels, and pieces of land. Note that the term "give up" is not literal. The wife or bride is simply bringing her valuables and money into the marriage. Not only does the bride give up what she has to the marriage, her parents give her money or buy her property, like a house, so that she can be on her way in the marriage. In some marriages, the groom also does what his bride does. He brings with him into the marriage his money and his valuables. This is called a dower. In most societies, a dowry is not uncommon. They do this to ensure the good name of the groom's family, and to ensure his financial security.In addition, the dowry is granted to the groom's family for "the amount they have spent in educating and upbringing their son." This is of the most importance within many countries, having the most influence today in India.

Dowry Relating to Social Classes
Since the beginning of time, people have always had trouble with finding a way to always stay well-off, as in to retain their powerful for eternity. In some societies, a dowry is set based upon social class , making it almost impossible for a bride or groom in a low class to marry someone in a higher class. This is because this person has nothing to offer their partner, which can not be accepted. It was believed that those who were very poor couldn't even afford to bargain with their valuables, because the only time that people benefited in this situation, was whenthey were going to gain in return something valuable, when if it is not, they will most likely not become married. This would upset quite alot of people who felt that if their daughters weren't put up for marriage at a young age, later in life no one might want her.

History of the Dowry
These dowrys were started in Roman marriages, to make sure the family would be as strong before and during the marriage. Those who were weaker power wise, were looked down upon, which they disliked. So, if their dowry was strong, they would use it to their advantage and in the end gain more influence in society through it.

Dowry: A form of the opression of Women
Women all over the world have always been repressed in a way that men are considered the "superior beings". Even in the example of the dowry, it states how even before the woman could actually get married they have to offer their partner some kind of object of value. It seems like they don't really have much choice. Just like the veil, this is another tactic that the government has been using to keep women from gaining full access to power and freedom. They place all insurance of women with their male partner, leaving her owning, in reality, nothing at all. They are not allowing women to make their own decisions, as to deal with their possessions the way they please. Everything is structured around the needs of the men, and keeping the women one step behind. It shows the fear men have of women; that they could do more than they estimate.

Before I delete someone's work ^^^^ I just wanted to state that a Dowry is the opposite of oppressing women, the groom actually has to pay the bride's family money or an object of value. State what role that the government actually has instead of just saying "The government does this!"

Dowry in
Persepolis:
In Persepolis, *spoilerspoilerspoiler* Marji has been expelled from her old school, and she stands up to a teacher in her new school. Marji's mother won't stand for this, telling her how much she worries about her and the most shocking moment is when she says, "Do you know what happens to the young girls they arrest? You know what happened to Nilourfar? The girl you met at Khosro's house? The man who made the passports? You know that it's against the law to kill a virgin... so a Guardian of the Revolution marries her... and takes her virginity before executing her, do you understand what that means??? If someone so much as touches a hair on your head, I'll kill him" (The Dowry, 145) That quote basically means that Niloufar was raped and murdered for being a communist but it was not over yet. After she was executed, her parent's were "compensated" by being paid a dowry of about 500 Tumans, due to war inflation 500 Tumans was about equal to $5. "Five dollars for the life and virginity of an innocent girl" (146) *spoilerspoilerspoiler*

Links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=dowry
http://www.vivaaha.org/newpage13.htm
http://www.findlaywedding.com/dowry.htm
http://www.pardesiservices.com/tradition/arrangedmarg.asp